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Matrox's DualHead/TripleHead — continued

For Parhelia, Matrox has completely overhauled its PowerDesk drivers, whose initial menu looks a lot more like Windows XP's Control Panel than anything else. Every manipulation tool you could possibly want is at your fingertips with the PowerDesk Control Panel, which requires installation of Microsoft's .NET framework. No doubt someone will dream up a conspiracy theory around that one.

As we've discussed, Matrox offers stretched and independent desktops for two-monitor setups. You can also reserve a third display for special feature support, which we'll get to in a minute. Like HydraVision and nView, you can also choose to clone your primary desktop on a secondary monitor, though cloning isn't supported when running three screens.

Matrox extends some of the more essential multimonitor window control functions to better manage multimonitor setups. In addition to supporting the standard multimonitor application window control modes that control window spanning and the positioning of dialog boxes, Matrox's software will snap application windows to screen edges. I've found this feature useful when organizing a multitude of smaller windows, especially for IM clients.

If you're into multiple virtual desktops, Matrox includes its MultiDesk software, which doesn't seem to have a hard limit on the number of virtual desktops you can have going at once. Not having a hard limit is nice, but just how many virtual desktops do you really need?

Zooming is the first of those "special" features that you can bind to a single auxiliary monitor. Much of the zoom feature's functionality is mirrored by NVIDIA's nView, though Parhelia can actually filter the zoomed region to better preserve quality.

DVDMax is perhaps the most compelling special feature that can be bound to an auxiliary display. You could, of course, manually maximize video playback applications to a single screen, but it's neat to see the graphics driver do it automatically. Let's also not forget that you can run DVDMax on the third screen of a three-screen configuration while still retaining a DualHead desktop on two screens. Video editing professionals and hobbyists, rejoice!